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Posts by tag: Grey Market

Yamaha June 12, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale

Update 6.13.2018: Unfortunately this bike sold while we were writing this post. Congratulations to buyer and seller! Check out the rest of Ted's inventory and thank you to Tad for the post. -dc

Yamaha threw their hat into the Grand Prix race replica ring with the… Well what this bike was called depended on where the thing was being sold. In Canada and Australia, it was an RZ500, which fits since it was like a bigger, faster RZ350. In Europe, it was the RD500LC, which also makes plenty of sense considering the RD series’ history, but with added Liquid Cooling! And in Japan, it was the RZV500R as seen in today’s Featured Listing, which sounds the most exotic to me.

And like Honda’s NS400R and Suzuki’s RG500, the RZ/RD/RZV was powered by a racing-inspired, two-stroke multi that was shared with no other bike in Yamaha's lineup. That made the bikes very exclusive, but not really cost-effective to produce. But really, what other sort of motorcycle would you power with a liquid-cooled 50° two-stroke V4 that featured twin cranks and a balance shaft displacing nearly 500cc? The rest of the package was likewise geared towards sportbike domination: a six-speed gearbox, a pair of YPVS power valves, Autolube oil-injection system, an underslung rear shock that was very exotic at the time, anti-dive forks, and 16” front and 18” wheels shod with typically skinny period tires.

Unfortunately, in spite of the racy looks and the inclusion of magnesium parts, the RZ500 still weighed in at a period-appropriate 450lbs dry. The problem was that rival Suzuki’s RG500 weighed significantly less while making more power than the RZ’s 88 claimed ponies. The RZ was designed from the start to be a civilized race-replica, but at the time the RG stole Yamaha's thunder with their much wilder ride.

But today, neither bike would be considered particularly fast on a racetrack and the appeal is a combination of nostalgia and the singularly exciting character of a big two-stroke, something the RZ still has in abundance and at a lower cost than an equivalent RG.  The RG has always been "the one to have," and steadily increasing values mean it's been priced out of reach for many fans. But although RZ prices have climbed to keep pace with the general increase of all 80s two-stroke sportbikes, they still lag behind the Gamma, making them the affordable choice.

This example is the Japanese-market RZV500R and featured an aluminum frame instead of the steel units on the other versions. Unfortunately, the aluminum frame wasn't something added to enhance performance, it was to offset the damage done by home market regulations that limited output to 64hp. Luckily, this example has supposedly been de-restricted and features a very sharp set of custom spannies that look far more upswept than the stock parts and should liberate more of the famous two-stroke crackle, along with FZR wheels, brakes, and front forks to match.

From the seller: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale

VIN#: 51X002446

Entering the world of RZ500’s has introduced me to several collectors who have shared some of their incredible knowledge of the Yamaha model. RZ500’s were built by Yamaha in model years 1984 and 1985. They were never sold new in the US and any that are currently here were brought in as Grey Market Vehicles. Yamaha Canada imported the RZ500 model which was also sold in Australia. The United Kingdom model was named the RD500 and came with a different color scheme than the RZ.

All of these models had steel frames and were delivered in what was considered unrestricted versions with higher horsepower than the domestic Japanese version of the motorcycle. The Japanese bikes with restricted horse power had smaller carburetors and exhaust systems to that end. In an attempt to balance the lost of power, the Japanese bikes were equipped with aluminum frames which were considerably lighter, but again, only for Japanese domestic consumption. That model of the RZ was called the RZV500, is model of bike being offered here. Our bike has the aluminum frame, different mirrors and decals identifying it as the RZV, the most desirable version of the bike if unrestricted. In this case that has been done with a set of Tommy Crawford Expansion Chamber Exhausts. The pipes are said to work well, are rare to find and are no longer made. A perfect storm so to speak.

This bike has been modified additionally with what we assume are a period FZR Front Forks and a set of matching wheels. There is also an Ohlin’s rear Shock Absorber in the back.

The owner of the bike was a huge enthusiast of Road Race bikes and at the time was doing some club racing. Being in the Service, when it was time to be stationed at another post, the Service took care of moving his personal property including his motorcycles. As per regulations, vehicles that were transported with personal property were to have all of their fuel removed, which was done with a tag hanging from the handle bar noting this. Unfortunately, medical issues evolved that prevented the bike from being recommissioned and it been in this state for over ten years. Sadly for the owner, he never was able to ride again and his family is selling the bike as part of his estate.

Collectors with an interest in the bikes have warned us about trying to start the bike without a serious inspection and reconditioning. Crank seals, carburetors and possibly other work may be needed and we are not in a position or capable of any of it. The bike, in running order, would most likely bring over $20,000 and is now priced accordingly to accommodate the possible needed work. It has an Oregon clear and clean title of ownership.

So this should pretty much be the highest-performing version of the RZ: the lighter aluminum frame combined with the full-power engine. More power, less weight, what's not to like? That is, once the bike is reconditioned, of course... The Seller is asking $15,295 for this one and, if you're handy with the wrenches and love to tune two-strokes, or have deep pockets and Lance Gamma's number on speed dial, this could be a good opportunity to pick up a clean RZV with more modern running gear that just needs some mechanical attention.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1984 Yamaha RZV500R for Sale
Honda June 1, 2018 posted by

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

If you're into bikes that aren't obviously compensating for something, this little Honda CBR400RR offers big-bike looks and serious refinement in a more compact, less overwhelming package. The included photos are very nice, but the seller has included just three of them, so I'll keep this post short. In general, 400cc sportbikes from this period are grey market imports: while very popular overseas and in particular in their home market of Japan, there was little to no interest in a sportbike displacing less than 600cc here in the USA.

That's unfortunate, because this "Baby Blade," so called because its bigger sibling was called the "Fireblade" in other markets, was a pretty sophisticated machine. It was powered by a 399cc inline four with sixteen valves, gear-driven twin overhead cams that was suspended in a stiff aluminum frame. The 70hp available from de-restricted versions was put through a six-speed gearbox and overall there's plenty of fun to be had on a tight canyon road.

Americans actually could pick up the CBR's close relative in the relatively obscure CB-1 that used a detuned version of the CBR's engine but replaced the aluminum frame with one made of steel. Weight was similar as the CB didn't have a fairing, but it looks like Honda might have gambled correctly in not importing the CBR, since the CB-1 didn't sell very well.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale

1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 aka Baby Blade

Classic smaller displacement sport bike popular in Japan/UK. Imported from Japan.
Starts and runs nicely all through rev range!

Recently carb tuned and de-restricted. Bike is in KM and I added a MPH overlay.

Makes a great small displacement track bike! 

New: 

  • Pirelli Rosso Corsa
  • Screen
  • Mirrors
  • Battery
  • Tank grip
  • Axle slider

Buy It Now price is $5,500 which is a pretty decent price although you'll obviously have to be careful to verify you can register it where you live. This one is in Texas and I'm assuming it's been road-registered there since the seller has gone to the trouble to add the MPH overlay to the speedometer.

-tad

Sharp Little Blade: 1991 Honda CBR400RR NC29 for Sale
Aprilia May 30, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge for Sale

"A man's got to know his limitations," Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry famously deadpans in Magnum Force, a film which happens to feature several Italian motorcycles, none of which are an Aprilia RS250 like this Cup Challenge bike. The decision-makers at Aprilia must have been fans of Clint Eastwood though, as they took that advice to heart: when they were planning the RS250, they stuck with what they knew and kept the frame design and styling in-house, while leaving the engine and transmission to an established manufacturer with vastly greater resources and expertise.

Instead, they used the 249cc v-twin from Suzuki's RGV250. Power for the RGV was listed at just 45hp, so the RS250's claimed 70 horses made it seem like the Aprilia version must have been outrageously modified, tuned to the absolute hilt. The reality was that Japanese restrictions meant all the home-market two-strokes were officially limited to 45hp, and were all capable of similar outputs when properly tuned and de-restricted. In fact, those in-the-know claim that Aprilia's modifications  pretty much amounted to a set of engine cases with "Aprilia" cast into them, and that 55hp at the rear wheel is a much more realistic expectation.

No problem: the Suzuki twin was plenty powerful and tuneable, with good parts availability and a high-strung character that complimented Aprilia's masterpiece of a frame, an aluminum beam unit that looked great and worked even better: reviewers then and now often refer to the RS250 as being one of the best-handling motorcycles of all time. Weight was pared to the bone and the bike was kick-start only. With about 300 pounds to stop, the triple Goldline Brembos were almost overkill, considering the same setup was used to effectively halt the much heavier Ducati 916 and the massive Moto Guzzi Sport 1100...

So the bike fit the standard quarter-liter mold: aluminum frame, asymmetrical "banana" swingarm to clear the expansion chambers, kick-start, and agility instead of brute strength. But where the Japanese bikes were often decorated with wild graphics and bold colors, the Aprilia kept things classy in elegant, basic black. Some of the earlier models featured race-replica graphics and colors, but even those were pretty understated, compared to other bikes in the class.

The Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge version was created to compete in a one-make race series late in the model's life. It was never really intended to be a roadbike, but did come with an actual VIN so some have been converted, as you can see here: this example does the bare minimum to make it road-legal and looks that much cooler for it.

From the original eBay listing: 2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge for Sale

2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge Edition. Original owner. Titled and registered here in AZ since new. Street legal and plated. 2 stroke twin. 6 Speed. Never damaged or raced. Some track days over the last 18 years. 5400 miles since new. RS50 taillight and rear turn signals. Small Piaa headlight with switch and brake light switch to keep the DMV happy. New battery, oil service and fork service. Fresh coolant and brake fluid as well. Carburetors and power valves were also cleaned and synched. Factory service manual and some gearing go with. If you want to show up at bike night and be a bit different here’s your ride. The smell of castor smells like victory. Mechanically and aesthetically in excellent condition.

Well, this might have a couple nods to streetability that will "keep the DMV happy" but your mileage, as they say, may vary, depending on where you live. Honestly, all RS250s here in the US are "grey market" bikes and only quasi-legal at best here in California. That's part of what makes CA titles so valuable for bikes like these: if your RS250 doesn't already have one, it's unlikely you'll be able to get one. Then you're forced to register your bike in your Arizona-living buddy's name, and end up riding around hoping the CHP doesn't give you a hard time when they pull you over... This one has clearly been enthusiast-owned and miles are very low. Although it's really a converted race bike, the "road legal" equipment installation is pretty slick and unobtrusive. And reversible! Bidding is pretty active over on eBay and there's plenty of time left to get a bid in, so head on over and take a look!

-tad
Featured Listing: 2000 Aprilia RS250 Cup Challenge for Sale
Gilera May 4, 2018 posted by

Days of Future Past: 1991 Gilera CX125 for Sale

It's always fun to see older cars and bikes that were meant at the time to embody the designs of tomorrow, even if that future never actually came to pass. Somehow, even though the world this wild Gilera CX125 embodied only exists in some sort of alternate reality, at least it doesn't rely on vaporware to actually function: radical styling aside, the underpinnings were the tried-and-true two-stroke engine and six-speed transmission from their existing Crono, and that single-sided front end is really just a conventional telescopic fork with one leg...

The single-sided front end matches the ELF-designed single-sided swingarm and makes it look like the bike is simply floating above its wheels when viewed from the right, like an artist's sketch made real. Developed by Paioli, it's not actually an alternative swingarm front end like Yamaha's RADD or the Bimota Tesi, but there's no downside to it in terms of function. In fact, that's really the biggest disappointment here: the radical styling that was clearly inspired by the ELF racing machines is just that, styling. There's no futuristic technology or exotic powerplant. It's just a sporty, economical two-stroke dressed up with stylish bodywork.

In fact, the most futuristic technology found on the CX125 was the engine counterbalancer that contributed to the bike's exceptionally smooth-running character and the electric starter. The simple bones underpinning the sleek body mean the CX125 works pretty well, taking into account the minuscule displacement of the tiny two-stroke. The 300lb wet weight meant the 125's 28 rear-wheel horses could push the little machine up to a top speed of around 100mph, but the question really is: at whom was this machine really aimed? 125 two-strokes are, even in Europe, learner bikes or commuters. And although the technology of the CX125 was decidedly modern, the futuristic styling wouldn't really have been a priority for practical types, and 16-year-olds looking for sportbikes were probably interested in something much more race-replica-y.

Although it wasn't priced much higher than its much more conventionally-styled stablemate, performance was slightly less and the bike didn't sell very well at the time. This particular example is complete and appears to be in decent condition, although some cracks in the bodywork are visible and there is some plastic discoloration, as well as a bit of rust and the usual cosmetic issues that arise when a bike sits for any length of time. The biggest issue is the lack of a title.

From the original eBay listing: 1991 Gilera CX125 for Sale

1991 Gilera CX125 located in Santa Ana, California. This bike is in very good condition for it's age. Gauge shows 3684 KM = 2210 miles. There are a few cracks in the plastic body parts, "see pictures". This is a very common problem with these bike. Engine runs great, no problems. The CX125 is a very rare bike here in the USA. More info is available on our website. Bike is sold with a bill of sale only. I don't have a title for the bike and can't get one here in California.

There are no takers yet at the starting bid of $7,995. These aren't exactly cheap for the performance they offer, but a CX125 would make a hilarious weekend ride in Southern California, where originality is at a premium. Honestly, I love these, so it's a shame that it wouldn't be easy to legally register one here.

-tad

Days of Future Past: 1991 Gilera CX125 for Sale
Honda May 2, 2018 posted by

Featured Listing: 1996 Honda NSR250R SE for Sale

Update 5.2.2018: SOLD in just over 12 hours! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

For the most part, we try to post up the very best, most unmolested examples of rare and interesting sportbikes for sale. But once in a while, we color outside the lines a bit and share something more personal, something customized to very specific taste. This Featured Listing Honda NSR250R SE obviously isn't completely original, a kind of Frankensteinian build that could have been a mess, but for the incredible attention to detail and quality componentry that's gone into it. This resto-mod starts with the basic bones of the last of the breed, the MC28, complete with a stylish single-sided swingarm and electronic ignition, then uses later suspension components and more modern bodywork to create a what if kind of machine.

Honda's NSR250R MC28 was one of the most technologically-advanced two-strokes ever built. Sure, it ran carburetors in an era where injection was the fueling method of choice for top-shelf sportbikes, but Honda didn't skimp on the gadgetry elsewhere: ignition was via the aforementioned PGM-IV ignition system that created different, three-dimensional maps for each individual cylinder based on the throttle position, engine rpm, and gear selection. The MC28 also used "smart cards" instead of a key to start the bike. These cards included preloaded ignition maps, and you could exchange the standard card for a race-only unit to bump the power up from the government-mandated 45hp. The downside? The HRC cards with the race maps are nearly impossible to come by now if you don't already have one.

The aluminum beam frame and 249cc liquid-cooled two-stroke v-twin were pretty much standard for the class, but the NSR added a cassette-style six-speed gearbox and their own variation of the class' de rigueur power valve, here called the RC Valve, for more user-friendly power delivery. The SE version used as the foundation of this bike featured a rattly dry clutch for additional racebike credibility. Per the description, the engine in this example been built to a very high standard using quality parts and the included dyno sheet backs up the seller's claim of 61hp at the rear wheel. The suspension is new, with an Öhlins shock out back and a revalved CBR600RR fork up front, complete with much more modern brakes. Those radial front calipers might even be overkill, considering this probably weighs more than 100lbs less than the donor bike, which would already have had superlative stopping power.

And then there's the styling. If you're a purist, you've probably already scrolled past this one, having noticed the comments section disabled. But for everyone else, the results are pretty stunning, a bit of the old and a bit of the new. I'm not generally a fan of rolling billboards, but it's hard not to love the Rothmans graphics seen here. I'm particularly glad that the builder was selective in terms of applying aftermarket bodywork to this build: I love the sleeker tail section, but Tyga's squinty headlight arrangement looks contrived, so the traditional single lamp seen here looks more NSR-y and a great bridge between the two styles.

From the Seller: 1996 Honda NSR250R SE Edition (Dry Clutch)

Bike is complete restoration with HRC 030 card derestriction tuned to 61HP, stock air box with oil injection still intact. Engine was completely rebuilt with dynamic balanced crankshaft from Falicon, new Koyo OEM crankshaft bearings. Engine has all new gaskets, bearings, and seals, top end is fresh with 140 PSI compression in both cylinders. Lower cylinder has upper cylinder head for centralized spark plug location for more efficient burn, similar to HRC style head. Jetting HRC style jet kit from T2 racing with carbon fiber reeds and HRC reed stuffers, Tyga air box lid for more air volume with new OEM air filter. Over 10 hours of dyno time, tuned perfect and runs amazing with 61HP, bike runs and drives flawlessly, no flat spots with crisp acceleration. Tyga stainless exhaust chambers with carbon fiber short silencers. Has new EBC clutch and heavy duty EBC clutch springs.

Has SPAL electric fan setup wired to toggle switch for additional cooling. Tyga carbon fiber Frame and Swingarm covers, frame and swingarm are in excellent shape with no damage. Has Tyga similar type of rear sets. New Dunlop 120/70/17 & 160/60/17 Q3 tires. Comes with all OEM original parts included in sale with OEM original fairings.  HRC 030 derestriction PGM IV with wire splice to run HRC 030 card. 

2009 Honda CBR 600RR front end, radial mount calipers, with Tyga Triple tees, steering geometry stays the same with this setup, front forks rebuilt with new valving and springs set up for NSR.  Rear shock is Ohlins, suspension is amazing, bike handles perfect, much better than stock configuration. Wheels are OEM NSR wheels powder coated white, front calipers are stock OEM 2009 Honda CBR 600RR with HH sintered pads with Galfer brake rotors, OEM 2009 Honda CBR 600RR radial pull front brake master cylinder. Rear brake is 84mm Brembo caliper, new Brembo matching pads with Tyga rear brake mount system with braided steel brake line. New DID gold chain and Tyga sprockets, 16/41 gearing. After market body work with Tyga rear tail section and subframe, all painted to match Rothman paint scheme. Has LED head/tail/turn signal lights included. 

Bike comes with Tennessee title with matching VIN number. I promise you will not find another better built NSR in the world,  I spared no expense on this build, I have already sold one on this site and customer loves it, you may contact him for reference, I will provide information if needed. $21,000 or best offer .

If you're searching for a museum-quality collectible NSR, you should look elsewhere. If you're in the market for an affordable daily rider, this isn't the bike for you. But if you want something that answers the question "what if Honda kept building the NSR into the next decade?" A bike that combines the best of the old and the new with optimized two-stroke character and performance, updated suspension, and a more modern style, you'd be hard-pressed to build something like this for the $21,000 being asked.

-tad

Featured Listing: 1996 Honda NSR250R SE for Sale
Kawasaki April 21, 2018 posted by

Rare Colors: Cali-Titled 1989 Kawasaki KR-1S in Zeus Blue for Sale

They're relatively rare here in the US, even in states with lax registration requirements, but late 80s and early 90s quarter-liter two-strokes were pretty widely available elsewhere in the sportbiking world, considering their narrowly-focused role and limited audience. Kawasaki was largely absent from the intense class rivalry during that period, though. Their earlier KR250 was out of date compared to something like the original TZR and they didn't have a real competitor ready until 1988 when the Kawasaki KR-1 and the sportier KR-1S were introduced.

The KR-1 was discontinued in 1992, without any significant updates and well before the others in the class. Just 10,000 were built, making it a pretty rare sight outside Japan these days: Honda constructed more than ten times as many NSR250Rs! But although Kawasaki as a company didn't seem like they'd gone all-in on the idea of going head-to-head against Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha, it wasn't as if the KR-1S itself didn't measure up.

Like most of its rivals, the KR-1S was powered by a liquid-cooled two-stroke parallel twin and backed by a six-speed gearbox to exploit the razor-thin powerband although, also like its rivals, the Kawasaki did feature power-valve technology, here dubbed "KIPS," to boost the midrange. Modern bikes with their ever-larger engines and horsepower numbers are increasingly equipped with electronic up-and-down shifters and autoblippers, but they really don't particularly need them on the road, considering the available power. A quickshifter/autoblipper would get plenty of use on one of these, had they been available: there's only so much you can do with just 249cc and the bike's government-mandated 45hp, so dancing on the gear lever is a required, not optional activity when riding a little two-stroke.

The frame was the typical aluminum beam unit of the class and the suspension was good but, compared to other bikes in the class, the KR-1 was a bit... raw. Handling was "lively" and the bike managed a best-in-class tested top speed of 139mph. An engine balance shaft driven by the 180° crankshaft seems like it was the only concession to civility, and even that was probably justified as preventing vibration damage to the minimalist frame, rather than as a means to refine the experience of riding the wee beastie.

From the original eBay listing: Cali-Titled 1989 Kawasaki KR-1S in Zeus Blue for Sale

The KR1S model here in the USA is one of the most rare of the Japanese 250 racer replica two strokes. If one can be found, it will usually be the green, white, and yellow bike. Sometimes the black and green bike, but never a factory genuine JDM Zeus Blue bike. These bikes were very limited in production. The factory Zeus Blue bikes differed from the export models in a few ways: indicators, mirrors, calipers, rotor center color, wheel color, all ID by the frame number. California titled and plated to its original VIN# Rare. Call Tim @714-746-5087 for more details.

When I purchased the bike a few years ago, I went onto the forums and found only a handful of original Zeus Blue KR1S models all overseas: one in Australia, one in the Netherlands, and one in the UK. I would go so far as to say this is the only one in the USA, and I know it’s the only one with a California title. This is THE rocking horse unicorn bike. To whomever buys the bike, you would be INSANE to remove the California title from the bike. That makes this bike so desirable. These bikes were ONLY JDM models never for export which is what makes them so rare. I have owned many many 2Ts (TZR, SPR, MC21, Rothmans, MC28, VJ23, V Model, Lucky, etc). These parallel twins really are amazing bikes. Having owned the four big Japanese manufactured bikes, to me there is no question Kawasaki is the most fun to ride. They literally are mad scientists and I LOVE IT! The KR1S was the fastest of all the 2T racer replicas. And if you know Kawasaki, they just built it and let it rip. Yamaha, Honda have their rev limiters, credit card ignitions, etc. Not Kawi. This thing will go all the way if you were to wind it out all the way. The sound of the parallel twin motor is simply the best. The cackling of the pipes. This bike has only had Motul 710 in it, runs fantastic, starts first kick, and purrs at idle. 18k miles on the clocks, float, gaskets, float valves all done, carbs serviced and cleaned, has Uni foam filter, new plugs, steering damper, factory toolkit, original key, etc. Clear California title in hand and current registration ‘til Jan 2019. Bike is for sale locally so the auction can end at any time. Thanks. Enjoy the ride…

Personally, I prefer my wild-haired Kawasakis to be vibrant green, and not the more civilized, metallic green they've been using on their modern, more sophisticated offerings. No, I want that lurid, fluorescent green of old. But this color scheme is exceedingly rare here, and that does count for something. Not to mention that it does look pretty sharp! The 18,000 miles indicated may not be stored-in-your-livingroom low, but the bike does appear to be you-could-eat-off-it clean and is in immaculate condition, with the very desirable California registration. And yes, the seller is correct that re-titling it in another state is absolutely a bad move financially: legitimately-titled two-strokes of this era are difficult to come by here, and there are plenty of well-heeled enthusiasts willing to pay extra for something they can legally ride.

-tad

Rare Colors: Cali-Titled 1989 Kawasaki KR-1S in Zeus Blue for Sale